For Enid Balint, the practice of analysis can be compared with the process of learning a language. « The analyst who can do this, » she says, « will continue to learn with every patient who comes to him throughout his professional life. » Enid Balint has been a training analyst of the British Psycho-Analytical Society since the 1960s. She founded the Institute of Marital Studies at the Tavistock Clinic in London, and with her husband, Michael Balint, developed the training method for doctors known as the « Balint group. »
She is a highly original and creative psychoanalyst whose work is related to that of Sandor Ferenczi, Michael Balint, John Rickman, Wilfred Bion, and Donald Winnicott. This important new book traces the evolution of her professional identity and gives the reader a wealth of insight into both the theory and technique of psychoanalysis. Balint shows a primary concern with the nature of analytic listening. She focuses on the understanding of pre-verbal and bodily processes, and the interface of the pre-verbal and verbal. Her central concept is that of « imaginative perception, » without which, she claims, the world around us cannot be seen and felt as alive. She also elucidates a special type of « open communication » for analytic listening, and shows how technique can be a way of continual learning rather than acquiring specific skills and mechanisms. She emphasizes participant observation and the crucial importance of mutual concern.
Numerous case studies bring her ideas to life and demonstrate the subtlety and flexibility with which she uses herself, and lets herself be made use of, as a psychoanalyst. In the final chapter of the book – a verbatim account of an interview with Juliet Mitchell – Balint describes how she learns from her own patients and shows how the analyst can work in various settings without losing touch with psychoanalytic method and theory. She also lets us see how many questions she still finds unanswered.
by Enid Balint, edited by Juliet Mitchell and Michael Parsons.
Free Association Books, 1er janvier 1995.
Réédition : 1er novembre 1998